Honestly, most fans watch these “Housewives”-type shows for the silly cat fights. Sometimes, they get physical. Sometimes, they are simply verbal. But you can hear the mewing from miles away.
Tonight, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” has the verbal tussle of the season to date, courtesy of Sheree Whitfield and “Housewives” wannabe/plant Marlo Hampton during the start of their 10-day trip to South Africa.
Hampton is edited in the most unflattering way this episode. First of all, trip organizer Phaedra Parks and her posse, Kandi Burruss and Sheree, are annoyed by Hampton just showing up, invited by NeNe Leakes. Team Phaedra also find Marlo overly gabby and obsessed with “etiquette.” Heck, she even annoying tests Phaedra on “etiquette,” then does the “buzzer” sound when she gets it wrong. Classy!
“I doubt Emily Post has a chapter on aggravated assault,” said Sheree, alluding to Marlo’s seven arrests, including one for aggravated assault.
“Blah blah blah! She never stops talking!” Kandi said to the cameras. She even said in Marlo’s ear shot. “This one needs a muzzle!”
NeNe is bemused by all this tension, probably because she caused it by invited Marlo in the first place.
The six women (including Cynthia Bailey) settle into Cape Town in a lovely penthouse for a day before going on safari. Sheree at first jokes that she wants to room with NeNe and Phaedra. Everyone is stunned silent. Then, waiting the proper beat, Sheree said, “Just kidding!” Maybe Sheree should get into stand-up comedy! Even NeNe found that one funny.
Phaedra the next morning gives a hand mirror to each lady as a gift for coming – except Marlo, since Marlo wasn’t invited. Mildly awkward but then it gets worse.
Sheree says a friend of hers in South Africa invited them to a dinner party but she only invited Phaedra and Kandi, not Cynthia or NeNe (or Marlo, for that matter.).
Marlo later that day confronts Kandi for not being friendly enough to her at a mall. “She gave me a phony a** hi and kept walking,” Marlo said. (This isn’t even high school level silliness. This is middle-school level silliness!) “I ain’t like that!” Kandi said, scrunching her face up. Though this argument dies on the vine, Kandi clearly does not like Marlo. That “hi” probably was “phony a**.”)
Then NeNe goes after Phaedra for being cold to her. Phaedra won’t take this type of bait. She denies any reason to be chilly toward NeNe. I can’t recall anything specific about why they never became buddies but they have kind of circled each other warily since Phaedra popped up season three.
Just before Team Phaedra leaves for Sheree’s friend’s party, Cynthia comes by and Sheree surprisingly invites Cynthia to the party – but not NeNe and Marlo. Cynthia goes right back to NeNe and Marlo to tell them exactly what happened. (Yes, this is middle school! Or maybe elementary school?)
NeNe doesn’t care. She didn’t want to go to some Sheree-connected party anyway. But Marlo sees an opening to generate some drama and maybe solidify her shot at getting on the cast!
She runs over to Team Phaedra and confronts Sheree about not getting invited. “I have no idea why Marlo is so pressed about going to the party. Marlo and I are not friends. What’s the problem?” Sheree said later.
Marlo dumps all that etiquette crap and gets down and dirty: “That’s why you don’t have a man. Go hang with the f****ts, you ugly stupid a**.” Oh, yes, Marlo used a nasty gay slur. As Kandi noted, “I don’t know etiquette but I know you’re not supposed to say that!”
The argument escalates into bizarreness. I can’t understand most of what is being said. And the editors don’t even bother captioning most of it. The crux is that Marlo accuses Sheree of being broke and pretending to be rich while Sheree accuses Marlo of sleeping with a rich 80 year old just for the money. They make funny faces and utter noises at each other.
“They’re speaking in tongues or Spanish. It’s becoming gibberish at this point,” Phaedra said.
“Is this how I look in an argument? This looks absolutely stupid,” NeNe said.
Cynthia said if she knew her middle-school actions would cause this, she wouldn’t have said anything. Uh huh.
NeNe even tries to break it up but all we get is a “TO BE CONTINUED.”
Question: did all these ladies pay for this trip out of their own pocket? Or did “Real Housewives” producers “help out.”
In other “Housewives” news:
- Kim Zolciak is the only one who didn’t go to South Africa. She gets a token scene. She’s stuck at home without Kroy (in training camp) but with her son and Sweetie. Her father visits and says how much he likes Kroy and thinks they balance each other out. Kim’s youngest daughter said Kroy told her a ring is coming soon. Kim is annoyed by Sweetie because she’s not helping Kim enough. (Possibly setting up for Sweetie’s departure?)
“One bad apple does not spoil the apple sauce.” - Phaedra, trying to make the best of Marlo’s presence on the trip.
“Capetown looks very Americanized. I never imagined it would look this way.” - NeNe. Was she imagining it would look like a bunch of shacks?
“I don’t want to share no bathroom. I have to have my own bathroom. I hate sharing a bathroom. Uck!” – Marlo, sounding like a petulant teenager.
“Marlo should be grateful she has a place to lay her head. Maybe she could plan her own trip so she can have exactly what she wants.” – Phaedra
“How about this for etiquette? Shut up!” - Sheree, about Marlo
NEXT WEEK VIA THE TRAILER
We see some scenes of the women on safari. NeNe seems especially antsy. The fall-out from the Marlo/Sheree battle was not clarified. We do see Marlo throwing cash up in the air at a bar. And Phaedra gets teary-eyed hanging with poor South African kids.
Episode 11 last week drew 2.77 million viewers, slightly up from a season low 2.7 million a week earlier. The show, which airs at 9 p.m., is now getting beaten by “Kourtney & Kim Takes New York” on E!, which drew 2.9 million an hour later. It’s also behind the comparable 11th episode a year ago at about 160,000 fewer viewers.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk